The pandemic has confined us within four walls, and it has put a lot of pressure on our mental health. Last year, same time, when the lockdown hit, I was going through a rough patch, and soon I realised it’s more than a “phase”. After months of struggle, I finally decided to seek help but realised that while we may share numerous posts and talk big, the stigma related to mental health is real.
The reality of the situation came to me when I had this conversation with different people in my life, and all had things to say that would discourage a person from seeking help when they need it the most. The point of this entire article is to put across the idea that words have more effect than we realise, and while some of us may not keep the bad intent when we suggest or say these things, it’s best to keep a check and correct our mistakes.
“Privileged People Have Anxiety”
One of the most common reactions I got to experience when the word ‘anxiety made its way in the conversation is, “anxiety is a thing for privileged people, not for common people like us”. While the line itself sounds cool and light, it somehow made me re-think my entire healing journey into a kind of overreaction from my end. Using discouraging lines like the one stated above with someone who is going through anxiety can push them deeper into the well of thoughts and make it worse for them as they would step back from seeking the help they need. Remove yourself from conversations where you start questioning your healing journey and its use.
“That Won’t Help You, It’s Just a Lame Method”
Whenever I discussed parts of my journey with people and how it helps me in different ways, I often found people smirking and asking “does that even work for real?”. While I didn’t realise the effect this had on me initially, later when I tried working on the tools, I constantly kept thinking that it won’t be useful to me and soon stopped using them.
People must realise the effect of one wrong word they use with someone who is already struggling. But this should not discourage you from doing what is necessary for your well-being and accepting the fact that not everyone will understand where you are coming from.
“You’re Just Overthinking”
Anxiety can sometimes make you question everything you hear or see. It is indeed very uncomfortable to talk about it or accurately explain your emotions. An anxious person always seeks assurance and finds comfort in constantly being reassured about the things they already know. While it may seem annoying to handle, we may keep in mind that the other person is living with this constant pit in the stomach. Anxiety makes you lose control, and that is why people with anxiety try to have as direct conversations as possible because uncertainty is uncomfortable for us. I have heard a lot about “overthinking”, and only a few could assure me and listen to me. Labelling your anxiety as “overthinking” can be extremely harmful as you may step away from taking the right path to control it.
“These Are All Modern Forms of Problems”
When we label someone’s anxiety as the modern world’s way, we directly put across the narrative, and it’s just in their head and not for real. When your friends or family go through a rough patch, try and understand their plight instead of jumping to your defence mechanism of ignoring the problem. We need a kinder world to remove the stigma, and calling it out as attention-seeking might not help.
- Talking about your anxiety, or how you feel is nevertheless difficult, but keeping a strong exterior to those piercing opinions is important.
- Distance yourself from thoughts or people that make it hard on you when everything else is already hard for you.
- A very simple approach I use to deal with negativity related to mental health is to stop talking about it to people who I know may discourage me from seeking help or push me to take it lightly.
Every person out there may be going through something and the people related to them, try your level best to be kind to the ones you love, ask them how they feel, erase this stigma, and develop healthy opinions to help people come out of their shell to seek help at the appropriate time.